Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Update - Mage Music: the Blog book

I'm waiting for a proof copy to come in the mail. Should be this week. I will go through it to see what needs fixing. I already know the cover isn't going to work - it's not the cover I've already shown you.  Which do you like better?

Do you like the version on the left or on the right better?

Besides the cover, I've got to see what interior changes are needed, submit them and I do believe after that point it'll be ready to rock n roll!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mage Music: the Blog now available on Kindle

YAY! Mage Music: The Blog is now available for Kindle! I'll be getting the hard copy published soon as I can if you'd prefer that. Or you can get both!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A different view of Jimmy Page

For no reason at all, here's a photo montage of a different view of Jimmy Page, from Choir Boy to book promoter.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sneak preview of the cover

Here's a sneak preview of the cover for Mage Music: the Blog.  I'm thinking I'll have the Kindle version available in the next few days.

Cover for Mage Music book

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Progress report

Just thought I'd post a progress report so you all know I'm not just slacking off.

Mage Music: The Blog is about halfway edited. I had hoped to get it out into the world by the first of the month (that is, December, not January) but I had to first finish editing and printing up another manuscript (fiction) to send out this week.

Now I can get back to Mage Music: The Blog, which will be available at a very reasonable price on Amazon for Kindle. I'll let you know soon as I know. 

Soon as that is done I'll get working on the book on creativity and Magick that this blog has been the proving ground for. I'll let you know how that goes, too. 

Exciting times!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let Me Go, Lover!

“Oh let me go. Let me go. Let me go lover. Let me be, set me free from your spell”
~Joan Weber, written by Jenny Lou Carson and Al Hill. Covered by Patti Page, Teresa Brewer and The Lancers, Billy Fury, Peggy Lee, Hank Snow, Dean Martin, Kathy Kirby and no doubt others... not to mention Lucille Ball.

Mage Music 90

That song was really popular back in the day. Let me go, lover. A heartfelt plea, begging for the freedom to get on with life.

Of course, it’s a mistaken concept, as appealing as it may seem. Nobody attains freedom by relying on it to be provided by someone else. Only personal choice gives freedom. Only personal choice breaks the chains.

I started out to write this blog post because I woke up the other morning with that song in my head. To my knowledge I hadn’t heard it anywhere in the days before. I figured it had manifested as an earworm for a reason.

I had some ideas about what to say - but I said them in the first two brief paragraphs, above. Nothing more would come. The song didn't go away. Darned annoying but I lived with it a few days anyway. Till today, when I realized what was really going on in the back of my head.

All this writing that I've been doing here - it wasn't for you, it was for me. Sorry. I needed to work out some concepts the hard way – by making them concrete through writing, and by firing them in the furnace of public view. The blog was perfect for that.

I woke up with the song in my head because it’s time to pull the pot out of the fire.

What pot? What is the woman talking about now?

My last post was about how I came away from the most recent Led Zeppelin remasters feeling like they were a good-bye. That was really the beginning of my coming to understand that I, too, have to move on. Mage Music -- the blog -- isn't my creative goal and it never was. Mage Music has been my testing ground. 

I wrote that I knew all things have a perfect time to be, and that there is a time for moving on.

So yeah, that's the message my subconscious -- or maybe the Universe -- was giving me. It's time to say so long, though not good-bye. I'll have things to talk about here in the future, but my focus is going to be on writing the book I've been wanting to write all along, about creativity and Magick.

So the pot's been fired, and I'm looking at it closely to see what other work needs doing. There are flaws, but I think the concept will stand. I will need to remaster the blog but that's no problem. Better artists than me have seen the need for doing that. 

Maybe now that blasted song will let me be. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 remasters: Goodbye Led Zeppelin

Last night I received the 2014 Remasters, Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy. I'm going to take my time reviewing the music but wanted to post a few thoughts right away.

I got the first three reissues as Deluxe CD sets rather than the Super Deluxe box sets, but sprung for Super Deluxe for these next two. Last night LZ IV and HOTH arrived. I have, of course, seen the photos of the contents (right) and knew what to expect, but not how I'd feel about the box sets.

First thoughts when I opened the individual cartons:

Why did I just get the Deluxe CDs before? I'm so sorry now I didn't sell my left kidney to get the Super Deluxes for the first three. I'll have to pick them up down the line because I just want them so badly now. The Super Deluxe box sets are perfect. They are obviously the product of intense thought and consideration, beautifully presented. You can tell that this physical aspect of the remasters were truly a labor of love on Jimmy Page's part.

They are the saddest things I've beheld in a long time.

I perceived in that moment that the remasters really are a swan song for Led Zeppelin. I understood that this truly was the end, the last significant work that was ever going to be released as Led Zeppelin, for ever and ever. The remasters are a going-away present from Jimmy Page to his former bandmates and to the world. Jimmy Page is moving on -- to new music we can hope, but whatever it is, he is leaving Led Zeppelin behind. 

All things in their time. I know that. 

Change means moving on. I know that.

But it's such a bittersweet knowledge.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Science meets Magick

Mage Music 89 Science Meets Magic
And what is magic, pray tell?
It is the after-echo of the Divine Word which created the world... And as it retains certain characteristics of its genesis, magic... can be used to alter the created world,

~ Mercedes Lackey, House of the Four Winds

Mage Music 89

If you follow science news releases, you'll be seeing a trend lately. Science keeps catching up to Magick.

Of course science calls it "discoveries", but what is happening is that scientists are merely using their self-imposed disciplines of thought and proof to verify the principles that Mages have acted on since, well, since there were Mages. Meaning since there were humans.

The "discoveries" of Ellen Langer, PhD, professor of psychology at Harvard University, can be read about in a recent New York Times article, What If Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?. Dr. Langer studies what Wikipedia calls "the illusion of control, decision making, aging and mindfulness theory".

It's no illusion.

Magick may describe the source one way and Dr. Langer's studies another, but the differences are merely those of different trails that lead to the same mountain. Different journeys, same end. Dr. Langer calls it the Power of Possibility. We call it Magick. Same same.

Dr. Langer uses science to examine the very things we've been talking about here on Mage Music, using a different approach to explain how hidden decisions made by the subconscious and thoughts (and vocabulary) shape the world we create whether we realize it or not. Dr. Langer focuses on the powerful physical effects of the placebo in the real world and goes on to set up situations for others to change their own reality -- including the "magic" of reversing the effects of aging and disease.

How is this different than desire + will + ritual = Magick? There is no difference... it's a matter of choice.

You can pay mega-bucks to be treated by Dr. Langer or you can take your destiny in your own hands, but either way, you have the power of the possible. Either way or any way, you are the one who creates your reality.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. As the song goes, there's still time to change the road you're on.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page

Mage Music: Me & JPxJP
“I set out to create a photographic autobiography. I wanted the images to illustrate the journey of my musical career…”~Jimmy Page, Epilogue to his book

Like so many others, I would have loved to get my hands on an autographed, beautifully boxed copy of Jimmy Page’s photographic autobiography, but it was out of my price range. I was very happy, then, to be able to obtain an “ordinary” copy and I pre-ordered it right away, counting down the days till it would be published.

I wondered what my reaction would be when I got it. I knew that I would be very familiar with most of the photos, and that there would be few words of explanation. Would I be disappointed?

I wondered just how much Magick would be in such a book, anyway.


Amazon said my copy would be delivered yesterday afternoon,  I had some anxiety about how it would be delivered.  My house is not quite as easy to get to as most people's are. It makes a big difference what delivery service is used but there’s no telling which one Amazon will use.  It matters.

US Postal Service delivers my neighborhood’s mail to mailboxes about five miles from where I live. UPS delivers to a friend’s house four miles in a different direction because it’s easier getting there than to my house.  I hadn't, though, provided special delivery instructions when I pre-ordered (not that there was an option to, as I recall) so I couldn't count on it being UPS. And FedEx – well, suffice it to say one time I discovered my overnight express delivery package three days after the delivery date, in a plastic bag tied to the gate of a vacant property three miles from me.

I checked the mailboxes yesterday afternoon. Nothing. I went to my friend’s house. Nothing. And then, driving down the dirt road to my house, I met the FedEx guy driving out. He’d not only found my place but deposited the box on my porch.

If that wasn't Magick right there, it was at least a miracle.

Drum roll...

Before I did anything, I had to calm down my dogs.  They were not happy at all with a FedEx guy having the nerve to go on their porch and worse, leave something just on the other side of their door. And even then I didn't do anything.

I left the package sitting on the table for a while, actually. I brought in the groceries. Put stuff away. Looked at the box as I walked by. Savored it being there. Thought about how long I could make myself wait before I had to have it.

Once it was opened, it could never be unopened, you know. I had waited so long…

Finally I whipped out my pocket knife and cut the seal on the box. I unfolded the flaps and beheld The Book.

It was larger than I expected, even though I had seen enough photos to know how large it would be. It was pleasingly heavy. I wanted to rip it open and consume it then and there… but I left it alone, still in the cardboard delivery box, still in the plastic wrap. Um... this wasn't very rational, was it. It was just a book! Not signed, never touched by Jimmy Page. 

Didn't matter.

I felt like just rushing through opening it would be... wrong. It felt like a small ritual was called for. After all – if there was going to be Magick found in The Book I would have to welcome it, wouldn't I?

I decided to wait till I had more time, when I had a little wine to use in the unfolding celebration. I wanted to call to the love, not to the sex, to use a kind of crude metaphor. I wanted some foreplay. Slow undressing. Building of tension to add to the pleasure. 

Ritual is like that: Identifying the desire, using the will to focus on the satisfaction of the desire for long enough for the ritual to be completed. Powerful ritual is the result of powerful emotion. Nothing like pleasurably delayed gratification to build powerful emotion.

So I was talking my time. When I was quite ready, I carefully slit open the plastic and slipped it off The Book. I let my fingers drift across the cover, enjoying the texture. I picked it up, decided to weigh it, because why not? I wound up not finding out the weight (easily remedied via Google, so no sweat there) but that’s another story involving me and my scale that I'd just as soon not go into.

A dark room. A glass of wine. Jennings Farm Blues (2014 remaster) on repeat.

When I opened The Book, my first reaction was a brief and unreasonable flash of disappointment. There was no special message to me to be found. No autograph, no stamped date, not even a smudged fingerprint. But of course there wouldn't be. I didn’t pay a couple thousand for my copy of The Book, did I? Irrational, but there it is.

Then I opened The Book for real.

And first: Zoso.

And then: Jimmy Page, by Jimmy Page.

And THEN a gulp of wine, and I started to read every word and examine every photo. But no, I was going to go through too much wine if I did that, and I'd take all night -- so instead I just turned page after page after page to get an overall impression. (Doesn't that seem strange, talking about pages about a man named Page?)

Yes, I’d seen almost all the photos before. I didn't care. I was looking for the meta story, the message Jimmy Page was conveying via the photos he personally chose. I already knew his musical history, what I didn't know was his take on it.

Because it wasn't about the life of Jimmy Page. He said that, and I knew that. It was about the music as channeled through the man. I knew about the ritual – that was the music itself, over the years -- and it is something to listen to, not to look at. But then, The Book is not a common autobiography, where this happened and that happened and then the next thing happened. The Book is a grimoire (a recipe book of sorts, with Magickal symbols as ingredients and directions for combining them). The Book offers carefully selected photos that disclose the history of Jimmy Page’s musical desire and will applied over time.

Three glasses later...

I read the epilogue, glanced at the publisher’s note, decided to pass on studying the photography credits till another day, and carefully closed The Book.

Nothing of Jimmy Page’s personal life. Not a hint of his family, the crazy times, the challenges, the temptations, the losses and the gains. Nothing of the personal human being except the occasional small, dry bit of humor, easily overlooked.  It could easily be mistaken for just a book of photos. But as a grimoire... 

As with his music, Jimmy Page included everything necessary and nothing extra to say what he wanted to say. The photos we've all seen so many times that are not there are as significantly in their omission as the ones that are included. The Book provide all the information we need to understand the message Jimmy Page wished to convey. Everything – everything – is a part of the whole that has meaning. It always is.

Magick: What you do with the energy of the Universe to change reality.

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page.  The music is still the message.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guest Post: Frank Smith on John Bonham

Some musings on John "Bonzo" Bonham from my pal, Frank Smith

Had John Bonham still been with us today, it goes without saying that he would be an elder statesman of rock in the same way that Jimmy, Robert and John Paul Jones are recognized to be today.

I imagine he would be retired from the music business and would be a sober and loving proud father and grandfather. He wouldn't have been flashy and capitalizing on his fame but would appreciate the genuine recognition for all that he'd accomplished.

I like to think he would be on his farm with Pat and family and perhaps, occasionally, sit in with bands to smash the skins for the fun of it.

Bonzo would also be taking an active interest in Jason's drumming, shepherding him along in drumming technique and in life.

Perhaps, in a perfect scenario, he would have done an experimental solo percussion-only album or two with Jimmy producing.

I also picture him sitting in with bands like Tool and other local bands that he respected.

Its nice to think that Bonzo would also would have sat in with aspiring drummers and given clinics at drum industry conventions.

If he were still with us today, he would cruise around town on his motorcycles and cars from his collection-occasionally showing off his latest acquisitions; a black Citroen GT and a Bugatti Veyron.

For one reason or another, Led Zeppelin would have disbanded in the mid-80's after the music business and fans no longer supported the world in which Zep existed.

Jimmy and company wouldn't want to have cheapened all they had built in the previous years and they would have quietly put the band to rest once it became obvious to all of them that they had outgrown their time.

The MTV generation would have put the band on a shelf while they danced to Michael Jackson. John Bonham in particular wouldn't have wanted to continue to seem to be a caricature of his old self and would have voted to disband Led Zeppelin.

Perhaps there would have been the occasional get-together when the time and situation felt right.

Live Aid and the Atlantic 40th show certainly would have been much better with John there behind the kit, of course.

So, it all came full circle in December 2007 when his son sat in for him. John would have been proud.

He was a man of his time.

I often wonder how he would have adapted and grown to fit into the twenty first century with plastic drums, drum machines, YouTube and auto tune. My gut tells me he would have adapted just fine while staying true to his organic drumming technique.

He is missed by legions of fans, friends and family each day.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Are we there yet?

Mage Music Are We There Yet?
You have an array of facts in front of you that can fit any of several truths. You have to choose what you're going to allow to drive your decisions about how to deal with those facts
~ Jim Butcher, Skin Game

Mage Music 88

Are we there yet? I'm going to say something very obvious here, but it needs saying. Whiny kids in the back of the car don't keep asking you that irritating question over and over again because they don't know if you've reached the destination. 

Of course they know you haven't gotten there yet. They're asking because they're bored to death.  They have no control over the trip, from the planning to the driving. They're just passengers.  The only power they have is disruption:  demanding bathroom breaks, fighting with siblings, puking and whining.  But that doesn't get the kid to the destination any faster, does it?  So why do they do it?

Heck if I know.  I don't even like kids.

Besides, this isn't about kids, it's about you and your journey to your destination.  You aren't a whiny kid. You're a grownup. You have tools to help you figure out where you are and how far it is to your goal. If you aren't there yet and you are feeling kind of whiny about it, just remember, it's always been under your control. Your choices are what get you to where you want to be.  Suck it up but don't beat yourself up, because you may have forgotten one important thing.

The mountain keeps moving

You want something in your life and you make it a goal. You focus on it and you sweat and slave and it takes forever, and then when you get there, it doesn't quite feel like what you thought it would. 

If you aren't there yet -- wherever that may be -- it's probably because you're aiming at the wrong place. 

It's easy to forget that real life is not about static points, i.e. goals that exist in the future and that you spend all your time striving for. Real life doesn't work that way. While you're busy focusing on a goal, you're still living life now. And that means you're changing. All the time.

If you use Magick to change reality, the desire you base your ritual on is a crucial factor.  If you are alive, you are changing.  Obviously if you change but you don't take into account how your desires have changed, your ritual is going to fail.  And if you don't take into account how living life -- even simply aging -- changes your desires and you don't change your goal accordingly, then you're just never going to get where you really want to be. 

The dreams of a child will hardly serve the adult. Only the dreams of the adult, in the now, can be used for Magick. The now is where you must be because this plane of reality requires dwelling in the here-and-now, on the journey, not in dreams of an end when the goal is achieved and the ritual is complete. Your point of control, the possibility to bring about change -- your Power -- is now.

Because this is Truth:  When you reach the future, it has eluded you and become the now of that moment.  And that now is necessarily different than anything you can formulate in this now, because between now and then you will be a different person.  You will never reach a goal that you set today, not really.  You can only reach goals that you adjust constantly to account for how the setting of goals changes you, and oh gods, will you ever get there?

No, you won't.  And that's a good thing.

The future is a moving target

The mountain - the goal, your destination - is really only a way to provide an excuse for your journey. The best destination is necessarily vague - does it really matter what exact square inch you end up on, as long as you get to climb up to the top of the mountain? Does it ultimately really matter which mountain, as long as you are having a good time? If you are constantly changing, your target is, too -- and life isn't a mountain with a top that can be reached anyway. It's a mountain range.  When you reach the top of what you thought was your goal you are greeted with a vista of another mountain, and another. Go with the flow, baby. Live in the now, the journey.

The ten-year-old in the back of the car is whining because she's focused on the goal and doesn't care about the journey. If you're feeling crabby because you haven't gotten where you want to be in life, I say this to you with the best of intentions: Grow up.

Magick, I remind you, is a process.  It is not in itself an end goal even though the process is targeted at goals. Magick is a living thing, not static.  Like the best living music, Magick responds and adjusts and adds to what it is being built on, even as it changes the meaning of what it has come from and thereby changes what the last note of the song can be. 

Are we there yet?  Yes.  We always are if we remember to be.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


No particular reason for compiling these photos or posting them here - just wanted to make you smile.

Mage Music - Jimmy Page Smiles -

(Click image to enlarge)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It’s Your Life

Why don't you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see,
And Baby, Baby, Baby, do you like it?

~ Led Zeppelin, Misty Mountain Hop 1971

Mage Music 87  
Mage Music 87 Its Your Life

One thing that most teachers are pretty sure of is that it’s their way or the highway. You see that with Magick, of course, though it’s not just the Masters of Magick who expect the students to follow directions in lock step.

It’s true in music, too, and all the arts. It’s true on social media and it’s true in society and basically everywhere you look.

Just about everybody wants to be an expert, an artist, a creator -- yet few dare step out of the herd far enough to show what they can do because they will be challenged. The only way to avoid being challenged -- and derided, which seems to be how challenge works mostly -- would be if everyone was just like everyone else. And what a boring world it would be if we humans really could stand to live that way.

But we can’t. In fact, we are always looking at what we see in ourselves and – more often than not – deciding we don’t like it. We decide to change who we are but then we look outside, to teachers who supposedly know more.

That generally doesn’t work so well.

When the student is ready…

It’s one thing to learn a how to do something from someone who knows how to do whatever it is better than you do. The more expertise an instructor has, the more the student can learn. But learning how to play the guitar doesn’t mean you are learning how to create music. Learning how to read and write doesn’t mean you are learning how to create a novel or a poem. Learning how to do something isn’t the same as learning how to be who you were born to be.

They say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Generally that’s understood to mean that you can’t force it to drink, which is true -- but the real meaning is that you can’t force the horse to choose to drink. Only the horse chooses.

Only you can create who you were born to be. If you choose, you can use many tools to do so. One of them is Magick.

But how do you do Magick? Who do you believe? What do you believe?

The uphill battle starts early

Problem is, it’s too easy to take someone else’s opinion on what you should do or how (or who) you should be. There’s a lot of pressure coming from everywhere to bend to authority and to peers. It starts early, with parents who want to protect their children by choosing for them. From the very first day of school kids are taught to follow directions, and teachers don’t have time to allow for kids to learn by seeing where the wrong path will take them. After that it’s teen years with the pressure to fit in, to belong. And after that, well, the habits of conforming are hard to break, and there's little outside encouragement to do so.

Trouble is, all your life probably all who have been your teachers have taught what you should do without ever teaching you how to be the person your born to be.

Magick in your life

They also say that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. The teacher is, of course, you -- but you have to choose to believe that.

Somewhere along the line most people do learn how to start making choices based on their own desires, but for most those choices are limited in scope. Most people live reactive lives most of the time, letting the circumstances they encounter dictate which paths they take. For some, though, the need to create original works – of art or knowledge or discovery, including becoming the self that you choose – overcomes the powerful outside pressures to conform. This means approaching life very differently.

The creative act requires opening from the inside, opening to the inside and then through to the other side to let the energy of the universe flow back up that pipeline to manifest in your personal reality.

If you don’t know who you are, you are creating blindly. If you are creating blindly, you can’t know if you are creating your own work or if you are in fact creating at all.

If you take someone else’s word for who you are, you aren't creating your own work -- you’re simply assembling someone else’s vision.

Creating art or creating a new personal reality – it’s all the same. It requires understanding that if it’s going to be your life, it has to be your choices that create it. That means taking a good look at yourself, acknowledging all that you are – the good and the bad, the attractive and the ugly - and accepting that it is there, that it is you, and that it is, in the end, all perfect. 

This is the first and most important step. You can’t change what you don’t know about. And then you boldly go where you've never been before.  

Know Thyself.  Then Do What Thou Wilt.  Other people's words, but they're true. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Perchance to Dream

“I had a dream. Crazy dream. Anything I wanted to know, any place I needed to go...
~ Led Zeppelin, The Song Remains The Same

Mage Music 86
Mage Music 86  Perchance to Dream

Dreams aren't merely entertaining (or scary… or tedious) stories in your head with tidy beginnings and endings. But they also aren't just random neurological blips that the unconscious mind stitches together that, upon wakening, you may or may not make sense of.

Dreams are in fact something much bigger than either of those things. Dreams are your brain's tuning in to the infinite (what Edgar Cayce called the Akashic records*, the place outside of time and space that is the energy that is Magick). 

The infinite has no beginning or end, and neither do dreams.

Dreams are like turning on the TV in the middle of a long-running series, watching for five minutes and then turning it off. You don’t get an enticing beginning and a tidy ending watching for that brief amount of time, but you do get a glimpse of something much bigger than the fragment you perceived. From that little snippet you can generally figure out something about the ongoing story line. You also understand that the five minutes you watched was not the complete story in itself, no matter how complete it seems.

Dampers, filters and wah-wah pedals

The infinite is, of course, too much for direct human interaction. Fortunately for you and me, living beings are equipped with the innate ability to dampen down the information from the Universe to a more tolerable level. Over time the mental filters that do this are altered by experience and by stored emotional reactions to that experience. Like camera filters that distort color or guitar effects pedals that manipulate sound waves, the output – dreams – no longer resembles the original input.

So the “story” you think you experienced while you were sleeping isn't an actual independent story but is rather the memory of a finite segment of the infinite. What you remember, the dream, is only a filtered approximation of the long-running series that is the Akashic records. In order to make sense of this experience your mind, hardwired for pattern recognition, edits the package to make a story of it, a pattern. Thus the points where you started and later stopped tuning in seem like a beginning and an ending – although they aren't. You've tuned into an ongoing story.

Dream interpretation

The human mind not only reduces the saturation and filters the content of input so that the brain won’t be blown by contact with the infinite, but it also interprets what is received. Symbols are created as placeholders for infinite concepts that are simply too much to otherwise comprehend. Some would say these symbols are archetypes of the human unconscious, others believe they are entirely personal. They are both. 

The choice of symbols reflects the individual’s desires. The meaning of symbols reflects Universal truths. Symbolism is the human mind’s instrument that is used to get a handle on that which cannot be handled, on the microscopic and macroscopic levels.

The symbols and the artificial constructs of beginning and ending not only create a way for the human mind to interact with the infinite, but provide a way to remember the experience.  We call it story, melody, painting, dance. Vision. 


♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  ♫ ♪  

* “Akasha” means “aether” in both the elemental and metaphysical senses 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mage Music Milestone

This morning Mage Music reached 30,000 unique pageviews... exactly. As if the Universe wanted me to take notice of that number. Okay!

Magick:  We are manifest in physical reality in order to create. Creation is life. Magick is creation. Magick is life.

Let nothing stop you from creating, not hardship, not age, not even lack of ideas. You have only to seek inside to discover the desires lurking there. Your Work is to follow the path those desires provide you and thereby to change your world.

Thank you to Mage Music readers for reading this blog and to thinking and creative people everywhere.  

Thank you most especially to Jimmy Page, whose music provides tangible evidence of Magick manifest in this plane of reality.

Friday, August 1, 2014

You and Only You

"Finding quantum 'lines of desire': Physicists track quantum system's wanderings through quantum state space."
~ Washington University, St. Louis, July 30, 2014

Mage Music 85
Only You   Mage Music 85

Summary of the above article:
What paths do quantum particles, such as atoms or photons, follow through quantum state space? Scientists have used an "artificial atom" to continuously and repeatedly record the paths through quantum state space. From the cobweb of a million paths, a most likely path between two quantum states emerged, much as social trails emerge as people round off corners or cut across lawns between buildings. Read more…  

At last!

Quantum physicists are just catching up to what Mages have known forever. Physicists are now able to demonstrate scientifically that quantum particles – the stuff that makes up “reality” as we perceive it – are influenced by the outside world.

Physicists can now observe the process of manifestation, though they don’t call it that. What they're finally seeing ishow the most likely path for a quantum system is established – in other words, how quantum particles change from what we might call a state of the infinite (where the potential exists to do anything but nothing has yet happened) to what we’ll call a state of the finite (where it can be predicted what the particles are going to do, and then they do it).

The first state of being is what in Magick we refer to when we talk about the Energy of the Universe. The second state of being is what in Magick we refer to as the Transmutation, or Manifestation from potential to actuality.

What is cool is that quantum physicists are calling the process they’re now observing…. [wait for it]…. A line of desire.

Sound familiar? Magick is a process of desire + will + ritual. The Mage desires, the Universe is influenced by that desire. The more the Mage engages will via ritual, the more the stuff that makes up reality is influenced by that desire, until eventually reality follows that line of desire to manifestation in the Mage’s reality.

Kind of mind blowing. And it explains a lot, too. 

As above, so below 

On the quantum level inertia and entropy and all sorts of things become clear, including, if you let yourself go with it, Why Things Exist. On the human plane there is an answer for why it’s so hard to go against the flow of other people’s expectations.

Billions of people creating billions of lines of desire that influence reality to take predictable paths -- and then there’s the Mage, wanting to change reality anyway. Talk about going against the flow.

Fortunately Magick doesn't have to be a group process. Magick is everything about the individual. The lines of desire that billions of people create and that influence the quantum state are, by and large, unconscious desire.  Magick, on the other hand, is about conscious awareness and deliberate choice.  

Obviously a Mage can’t expect validation from the unconscious choices of billions of people. Magick is a solitary quest. When a Mage fails to manifest desire, it is not that Magick isn’t working – it’s not even that there are billions of people desiring something else. When a Mage fails it’s a failure of personal desire and will.


Quantum particles don’t think -- they only react to the pressures of desire. They can’t “know” whether that pressure to manifest one way or another is coming from unconscious or conscious desire. So really, all a Mage has to do is want something… and then consciously keep wanting it until it manifests.

That sounds so easy, but it’s not.

Most of the time what happens is the Mage is thinking too much of what is not desired, not what is desired. Self-sabotage. This isn't all that surprising because it’s hard to wrench the mind from the unwanted reality and strictly focus on the wanted. 

Worse, it almost seems like life conspires to keep a Mage's attention on the wrong thing. 

Actually, that's exactly what's happening. The Universe's lines of desire tend towards the well-worn pathways. It's a Mage's job to nudge those quantum particles in a different direction (the line of desire), but the Mage is immersed in a path already, and that makes it a challenge.

How to not keep on keepin’ on

There’s a reason that acts of Magick are called Works (as are all acts of creation). The deliberate, conscious choice to create change takes effort and willpower. It’s easy to fall back into the path of least resistance instead of maintaining that effort to get those pesky quantum particles to enter into the Mage’s desired line or path.

It takes constant vigilance. Desire and will, in other words, constantly maintained (that’s the ritual part of Magick. That's work, all right.

Inertia and entropy are acting on the quantum level and on the physical plane to return a Mage’s reality to the old path. A Mage might not even be aware of a misstep or omission, a falling away from the desired path. 
A simple complaint, an analysis of what’s wrong, a negative emotion elicited by the past, a worry about the future – these are all so commonplace as to fall under the radar of a Mage’s awareness, but these are the things that sap the Magick. Every moment of attention on the unwanted thing is an influence on the quantum level, and quantum particles will be influenced. 
Conscious awareness. If it was so easy, everybody would be a Mage. Except for the physicists, of course, since they want to spend their time watching it all happen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Next two LZ remasters available to order

So far I've only found the links for the Super Deluxe Edition box sets but this is a good start!

Led Zeppelin IV 

Track Listings

Disc: 1
1. Black Dog
2. Rock And Roll
3. The Battle of Evermore
4. Stairway To Heaven
5. Misty Mountain Hop
6. Four Sticks
7. Going To California
8. When The Levee Breaks

Disc: 2
1. Black Dog (Basic Track With Guitar Overdubs)
2. Rock And Roll (Alternate Mix)
3. The Battle Of Evermore (Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange)
4. Stairway To Heaven (Sunset Sound Mix)
5. Misty Mountain Hop (Alternate Mix)
6. Four Sticks (Alternate Mix)
7. Going To California (Mandolin/Guitar Mix)
8. When The Levee Breaks (Alternate UK Mix)

Houses of the Holy

Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. The Song Remains The Same
2. The Rain Song
3. Over The Hills And Far Away
4. The Crunge
5. Dancing Days
6. D'yer Mak'er
7. No Quarter
8. The Ocean

Disc: 2
1. The Song Remains The Same (Guitar Overdub Reference Mix)
2. The Rain Song (Mix Minus Piano)
3. Over The Hills And Far Away (Guitar Mix Backing Track)
4. The Crunge (Rough Mix - Keys Up)
5. Dancing Days (Rough Mix With Vocal)
6. No Quarter (Rough Mix With JPJ Keyboard Overdubs - No Vocal)
7. The Ocean (Working Mix)


Remasters page has order info for all options.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

But... It Looks So Easy

Yup, that's what I thought when I decided to make a quick video. Easy-peasy. Hah! What do I know about making videos? Nothing.

I gotta give a lot of credit to the people who've made all the great videos I've watched over time. This is my second attempt at a slide-show video and boy, is it crude (hint: watch in a small frame because it looks terrible full-screen... I don't know why it looks so fuzzy). But you know, I'm stubborn. I'll keep trying.

Just not soon. I'll stick to writing, I think.

Thanks for not laughing too hard, my friends!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

RIP John Dawson Winter III

Another music giant passes into legend.

Ross Halfin says that this album cover of Second Winter by Richard Avedon is one of his favorite music photos, and that Jimmy Page always comments how great the photo is when he sees the cover.  RIP John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014).

Think about it:  A blues guitarist born just a month after Jimmy Page, but born and raised right there, where the music was being played live, by the artists who were living legends in their own time. Johnny Winter got to hear live performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland, while Jimmy Page had to learn by listening to them on vinyl.

Listen to Rock Me Baby, from the ironically titled album, Johnny Winter: Still Alive and Well

Where's the Magick?

It seems so long since I last posted anything actually about Magick, so I thought I better fix that.

I'm veering off format, too - no image, no introductory quote - but hey, if I can't break my own rules... well, that would be pretty sad.  [The beauty of blogging:  I can edit after I've posted.  So I've added an image from a past post].
Mage Music

Anyway, here's what I've been thinking about, the Big Question: Where's the Magick? Because it seems that sometimes it's a futile quest, this business of Magick. A tilting at windmills. A frivolous delusion, perhaps.

Ironic, isn't it, since Magick is everywhere.  Except, it seems sometimes, in our own possession. It is the energy of the Universe, the stuff that everything is made of, and it might as well be nonexistant for all that it can evade us. It is the big M: The Mystery, the unknown factor. No - it is the elusive factor. But it's there.

And it's free for the taking. All you have to do is grab it. Haha, so easy.

And isn't that the trick

We're all so focused on day-to-day stuff that we get trapped in that mundane existence. A shame, really. So much energy of our day-to-day moments is spent resisting going down paths we'd prefer not to go down, pushing away experiences we'd rather not experience, and coping with the crap that flies at us, that we have no time to consider Magick.

But that is so very wrong. Even the crap is part of Magick. The trick isn't forcing oneself to expend additional effort to take a different path, but instead to see that all paths are Magick. And to see that resistance is futile.  

Resistance only blocks Magick. 

There is only one path to Magick:  The act of will. Choice. To block anything is to block all things. There is only one path to Magick. And there is only one person in your life who can choose to take that path. As Jean-Luc Picard says, Make it so.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It fingers

Do long fingers make the guitarist?  It can't hurt.

It would be interesting to know if anyone has actually done a scientific study of this.  If you know of such, please share!  Thanks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Remasters 2014 Report: Led Zeppelin III Companion Disc

I gotta tell you, I sat down to listen to this disc with mixed feelings. I was feeling kinda bad because it’s the last of the first batch of remaster discs, with nothing more till next fall.  That’s a long time to wait.

But whoa baby – I also knew this one final disc of the first batch was going to be pretty awesome. I mean – Bathroom Sound? Who puts out an album with anything on it like that? You KNOW right then it's going to be great!

And I was not disappointed.

Led Zeppelin III Companion Disc

Immigrant Song is some kind of perfection.  Powerful and nearly frightening in its simplicity and depth.

So clean. That’s the gift of the remasters. Crispy critters.

Oh oh oh RP - all that hummuhhh stuff!

I damn love the minor key. It’s so off balance.

Holy shit – it's an instrumental. Sorry RP, but this may be my new favorite version, even without you.

Ominous. Clouds looming just over the horizon out of sight, perhaps bringing something very unexpected. Friends come with hidden blessings, don’t you know.

Oops – my cat just decided that Led Zeppelin blasting in her ear was too much so she just up and left. Her loss.

Shocking – I was totally sucked into following the last bit of sound and then Celebration Day completely gobsmacks me.

How is it that every single time I listen to this music it’s a new thing, a revelation and yes a celebration of Magick and music and life?

Guitar guitar guitar – a few notes send me off!

Energy, power, dammit. It’s all here.

Hah – that guitar is just slightly flat! On purpose?

Each damn song is the best!

I love love love this SIBLY rough mix! And I’ve always loved the guitar's comments in SIBLY.

Lose my worried mind? How about how my heart is being yanked out right through my skin?

Crap. Are you supposed to need tissues to wipe your eyes when you’re loving music this much? Of course, that heartectomy might have something to do with it.

And dammit, that guitar IS flat!

SIBLY is just emotionally wringing. But isn’t it all?

Bathrooms are great for sound! Grinding, growling. The beast.

Brains, hearts and souls in synch.

And of course my mind is hearing RP’s voice anyway!

Ah, there’s JPJ. And finally… the heartbeat, Bonzo.

And then it just stops like that – makes me laugh!

That’s the way, all right. It’s such a sweet thing, but with a core of darkness. Contrast.

Oh, that’s an interesting thing with RP’s voice now.

“Fish in dirty water dying” – I don’t always listen to the words, but isn't that an amazing phrase?  I think it every time I hear it.

Geez – why didn't they use this rough mix as the final product? There’s some amazing stuff in it! A new favorite for me!

Gods yes, I think I may love this version of Jennings Farm Blues more than any other. There is stuff being said musically that I've not heard before.

No – there is no “I think” about loving this version. It is just different enough that it’s practically a whole new song and KaChing – just like that another new favorite for me!

I can’t say that tremolo does much for me. I get what Robert’s doing with it but a little goes a long way.


Led Zeppelin - they were masters of the music in a way that no one had been before, right from day one. They stood out even compared to the Big Guys of rock music of the day. This was their third album, fer crying out loud. They'd only been a band for two years!

I can’t believe all the whiners who say that these remasters are just more of the same. I pity those people for what they cannot hear. Meanwhile, I feel like I've been given an extraordinary gift of perfect imperfection. A bittersweet gift, at that, not without the price of emotional investment.

But isn't that what Magick is all about?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Remasters 2014 Report: Led Zeppelin III

It’s so cool that the remaster CD has the spin disc cover like the original. Such attention to detail – not surprising but still worth acknowledging.

Jimmy Page should be revered as one of the great wonders of the world, a planetary treasure.

As before, these are thoughts and reactions experienced when listening to this remaster disc for the first time.

Led Zeppelin III

One of the most chilling, soul shivering song beginnings ever. But LZ was good at that.

Love the way RP lingers on the syllables.

I will never listen to the original albums again. The remasters are it.

The crispness of the sound makes me appreciate all over again how tight their musical choreography is.

Wait wait – Immigrant song can’t be that short!

That alternate tuning - edgy!

A kind of scary song, isn’t it? Friends? I mean really - who the hell decided on that innocent name?

The flow from Friends into Celebration Day – brilliant!

I’m so happy I joined up with that band decades ago!

The ups and downs – rhythm, tone, alternate tuning, major to minor scales, pitch, even the segues to next songs. Contrast, contrast, contrast, baby - never ever left to chance.

SIBLY. Simply… wow. A guitar and drummer. A touch of keyboard. And then POW. A sucker punch to the gut and then backing off to let RP sing of the damage. I fall for it each time.

Those rocking rhythms just stuck in there.

Wah. Tearing me to shreds.

The guitar – I wasn’t ready, I could never be ready for that lethal insertion of emotion. And then and then and then….

Jazz/scat, the whole kitchen sink. RP’s tools were beyond mortal.

Once again I’m struck with the disjoint of the start of OOTT. Uncomfortable, puts me off balance. Inside, it feels normal already. Were they not afraid of anything at all?

I remember thinking when I first ever heard this that it was a great song but why in the world did LZ do it? But really, who cares? It’s another way to express something different musically. Do it all! Any way at all!

Banjo. What a riot. It’s a sound. In fact, Gallows is so rich with diverse sound

I never noticed that chorus effect in the last minute – is that really what I’m hearing?

That false start before Tangerine… intriguing

Tangerine has always been one of my least favorite LZ songs. But there’s new information now, and it seems more complex musically than I thought. Maybe I've never given it a fair shake.

More slide guitar? Steel pedal? Where did that come from? And so its own thing. Not the way I’m used to hearing it

I can’t really listen to this music with my eyes open.

The sound between the notes is so full!

Steel strings so hard for such a soft song. But the bass cushions.

I love the ending – sometimes words just get in the way.

Oh Bonzo – you made it stomp. Can’t help but bounce when listening to this!

The greatest band in the world does a song about a dog. Is there ANYTHING they won’t try?

That’s some pretty slick guitar playing, Mr. Page.

Two instruments, so unlike. A guitar. A voice. And yet so much there.

But the end too soon!


Did anyone truly appreciate LZ in their time? I know that what I hear and appreciate now is very, very different than what I was hearing back then. We all are growing up, but maybe there are good things that come from that after all.

What I take away from this album is a new appreciation for how diverse these guys were, how bold and adventurous. Any technique, any sound – it was all fair game to get their music out there.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Remasters 2014 Report: Led Zeppelin II Companion Disc

So many people are talking about the remasters. That’s a cool thing. It’s too bad, though, that what so many people are talking about is the packaging, the technical details of the digital downloads, the shipping/delivery dates, the songs that should have been included or will be included on the companion discs.

Where’s the music in all that?

Led Zeppelin II 2014 Remaster - back cover
Led Zeppelin II Companion Disc

"The material on the companion discs presents a portal to the time of the recording of Led Zeppelin. It is a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions, and new material recorded at the time."

Even before I put the disc in the player, I’m reminding myself of the above statement by Jimmy Page. The track listing is almost the same as Led Zeppelin II but not quite. Mr. Page’s choices of songs alone will reveal much about his musical intentions for us. I look forward to the new insights. 

RP’s voice is surprisingly more melodic than I recall. Am I hearing things that weren't there before or is it because of quality?

Oh this is fun, this is different! Hearing the parts without the whole! And my brain is supplying the parts that aren't there!

Insights into song construction. Wow. How music gets put together to make a whole is a mystery to me so this is awesome.

Oh what fun it all will be – prophetic! All these years of enjoyment have been fun and it doesn't end!

What a remarkable gift this is - no band has to share rough mixes with the world. Led Zeppelin's rough mixes are better than most bands' finished music!

This is truly an instructional disc, isn't it.

No lyrics! Thank You! I love this (lyrics aren't my thing). But I can also see how much this song was meant for RP's vocals. It doesn't stand as an instrumental as much as other LZ songs do.

Gotta admit JPJ’s keyboards are the best part of TY as an instrumental.

How often do we ever get to hear of bass and guitar in harmony? Makes it special to hear it now.

Yeah, then I get the solo – PLAY it man! And he does play with the guitar. Goofing around a bit there.

That tone. I’d like to interview JP and ask him how he chose different tones. The when/where/why of the different voices of his guitar.

He’s like a ventriloquist

Lyrics-free music! Again it’s really so clear when the instruments are supposed to be accompaniment to the vocals rather than standing alone as instrumental. That's never been so obvious to me before. This is amazing. I’d like to hear every LZ song without vocals to understand the interplay.

Oh oh oh. Ramble On – one of my most favorite. But this version missing the lovely voice of that guitar.

OMG – I’m realizing that this whole disc shows in such a damn dramatic way just how much JP’s guitar voice made a difference to the music. Duh! All of these tracks lack the Magick I seek in the sound! This is definitely an instructional disc for me!

I always love hearing Bonzo sing out his counts.

La La is just so damn much fun. It is so not LZ and yet Zep at the same time. I could see JP, JPJ and Bonzo deciding to have fun while waiting for Robert to get back from lunch.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Remasters 2014 Report: Led Zeppelin II

I gotta tell you, this reporting on the remasters is hardly a chore.  I can call it "reporting" but we know what it really is - indulging. 

I've been waking up in the morning with the music in my head. It’s become the soundtrack to my life.

As before, this report is a first impression, written while I listened to the remaster for the first time

Led Zeppelin II

I’m struck anew with the immediacy of the remasters. 

The original genius pulls out of the archives the sound that he hears in his own mind.  How amazing is that?

Whole Lotta space cadet! Haha – I remember now what I was doing when I first listened to this album back in the day. [censored censored censored]

Geez – if anyone walked in the room and saw me now they’d think I was nuts with this big, silly grin on my face. That's probably just what I looked like back then, too.

I don’t want to listen to the music I want to be IN the music.  A good recording lets you do that.

Each one of them had such a tremendous ability to put expression into the music. Bass, drums, vocal, guitar – all of it individually and then expressing it together.

The change of phrase. Another way of saying something musically with the slippery slide of the guitar - it is what is and could never be otherwise.

I listen to the voice without trying to understanding the meaning of what Robert's singing. Heck, half the time it seems he's just making up words anyway. But that makes the voice an instrument, not a song.

I so get into the music that it seems the songs are over before they're hardly started. That’s why I love the live stuff – the long, long, long delivery.  

The weight of the words isn't greater than the weight of the other instruments – that’s one extraordinary difference between LZ and others

That tone of guitar in The Lemon Song solo. Somehow it is Jimmy the sound is coming directly from, not his guitar. 

I get those fingers on the strings as if I was right there. What is it about the sound that makes it seem that way?

And then the little guitar comments on Robert’s vocals. Just little asides.

The juice – baby baby baby

And that little squeakiness tone to the guitar. Sly humor there.

Happiness no more be sad. This music.

Love the organ ending, JPJ with just the quiet chords, the fade out, then coming back. What crazy mind comes up with that?

There in the middle of Heartbreaker my heart breaks not with grief but just sheer pleasure

Then back to business.

Not for the first time I wonder if anyone has ever counted up how many different tones JP gets out of his guitars

Sometimes the guitar comes in and I don’t realize for a second that it’s not a human voice.

Ramble On – no doubt some kind of masterpiece. No ordinary music, just loaded to the top with Magick. One of my absolute favorite LZ works. Great light and shade. The different guitar phrases just knock me over. I like that little tappy tappy stuff Bonzo does sometimes. Thing is… even though Dave Grohl kind of sucks cause he shouts the lyrics, I like the Foo Fighters version at Wembley better, but then maybe it was JP who was better for that song then.  I'm not discounting that.

The bass balance on this album seems pretty high to me (I haven’t changed any settings from the first two remasters). I like it just fine.

This studio album is a good contrast with LZ live. It’s much more constrained. Of course, maybe it's because I still haven’t replaced my speakers and can’t turn UP THE VOLUME.

I love Robert on harmonica. He gets the same expression as he does with voice. And the weird voice on Bring It On Home gets me every time. I forget who he's emulating, doesn't matter. Nice echoey sound on this and you get sucked in and then they get BIG. Light and dark, baby! And then tweet!

WHAT??? It’s over already????

I’m definitely hearing stuff on the remasters I wasn't hearing before.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Remasters 2014 Report: Live at the Olympia

It was not so easy waiting two days to listen to the companion disc to the first album. But I made myself do it because self-discipline is part of the Music, of all the Arts, and of Magick as well.  And because it's going to be a long, long time till the next three remasters come out.

As before, this report was written as I listened to the music.

Led Zeppelin I Companion Disc - Live at the Olympia 

I love that the show opened this way.  In your face showing off how good these guys are.  Bam bam.  Bam bam.

Dammit, my speakers are ruined.

Robert Plant’s voice so young – he’ll get even better than this later years but he's already there, on the top.

Recording’s a little uneven – sometimes JPJ’s bass is right in your face, sometimes it’s Robert. Who cares.

JP’s guitar so clean. Still reflecting the tightness and technical excellence of his session playing, but he’s starting to break loose. Not like later, but you can hear him being pulled off into the ozone.

HOW does Robert still have a voice at all today? What awesome lungs. Seriously.

It is so amazing that JP could make himself sound like multiple guitars without benefit of a studio.

Do people even realize how different this music was? That the guitar wasn’t just an accompaniment to the vocals anymore? All bets were off!

Live recordings back then – not such great quality, but you've got the loosy-goosy freedom of a live performance that a studio recording never really has. Magick in it all, just different, because one’s a capture of a practiced, perfect ritual, the other is a messy Work in progress.

I love how the audience responds. Lucky dogs.

The boys were like elite marathon runners – putting out maximum effort for miles and miles of music.

How can a human being do that on a guitar? The guitar isn't a musical instrument any more but instead is a physical extension of the soul’s desire.

So strange hearing a quiet audience at the first notes of D&C!

It is 84° in my house and yet I just shivered.

It seems to me that D&C is a completely different song every version of I hear. That time in Paris still takes place somewhere far, far away from this planet, though.

There I go again. Goosebumps.

Bonham so in tune with the music. Not merely a rhythm keeper but a music creator along with the others.

Whatever gave Robert the brilliant idea to sing counterpoint to the guitar? Simply beyond extraordinary.

Sexual assault with sound.

This is crazy-making music. Crazy is good.

Oh the voice of that guitar – that crawling, seeking, huge, nasty thing.

This is so not the studio!

Get your mind out of the gutter. Not mere sex – it’s so much more. Push the music, push life, push reality. Spread the wings. Fly to the sun and beyond.

Like telling the story a new way each time but in the language of emotion made sound.

No announcer butting in! I automatically cringed but it wasn't there!

How brave, how cheeky, how much confidence and joy to try a new note, a new pause, a new rhythm, a new chord, a new progression in front of witnesses. And pulling it off.

Oh I surely did trash the speakers two days ago. Must replace can’t go on with them like this, but no stopping the music.

Can blues be any darker, slower, richer, sleazier? Can anyone survive such exposure of the soul?

I forget I’m listening to a voice and a guitar. They weave in and out so perfectly, I hear a musical message. My heart follows willingly, not even caring where I'm being taken.

No wonder some people think there’s something evil in this music. I actually know of  a few who could only blush if they really listened to what’s going on here. But they can’t hear what it is, only what they fear. A pity.

Geez – you have to just laugh with joy at some of this. Unbelievable. And it’s just crappy blown speakers! Of course I’m laughing!

Ain't you never been shook? Oh!

How BIG they were. Filling the heavens with joyful sound!

Drums and voice were the original music. Yet all alone Bonzo made music with drums. Not just rhythm – he made music. He brought down the lightning and the thunder and then he mocked the gods with their own pounding footsteps as they strode across the quivering earth hunting for what he'd stolen from them. We love him because he had no fear. Hearing him shout as he hammers it out – where is the fire to throw our sacrifices on, to dance around, naked and sweating?

How Many More Times can I be blown away by this music? It doesn't matter. I willingly throw myself on the flames.

Love how there’s a touch of Whole Lotta Love snuck in there towards the end.

Can you believe they’d go out and do this night after night?

Why in the world do they call what these guys did “playing”? It’s as serious as a heart attack. Oh yeah, Art Attack.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Remasters 2014 Report: Led Zeppelin

I'm taking it slow, letting it sink in. I'm not wanting to dive into all this music, but savor it for the wonder that it is. Accordingly, my reports will come out slowly - over days, not hours.

These reports will be thoughts that come to me while listening to each disc for the first time. Your experience may vary. That's okay. Just let the Magick in.

Led Zeppelin

The immediacy of the sound, so clean, crisp and lively. Extraordinary. Begs me to turn up the volume again and again. This music is hard on speakers.

A song ends and I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face: Earth to Lif! Earth to Lif! So taken away. The music transports me to another plane of existence in another universe.

Jimmy Page’s concept, grabbing the listener by the musical short hairs with extraordinary balance of light and shade, is so well executed.

I heard detail and nuance of sound I’ve never heard before. I felt depths of musical emotion beyond what I have loved for over 35 years.

The guitar was right there!

I could practically hear Robert’s heartbeat.

No wonder their music has held up for so long. It will hold up forever.

How could it be that it makes me want to weep? It’s joy I feel, and gratitude – not only for this music being put out into the world, but for this renewed connection with its essence.

Oops. I’m blowing out my speakers. Oh well, I needed better ones anyway to do this music justice.

Jimmy Page’s guitar has a voice of its own that is just on the edge of language. It is a perfect expression of emotional language. Sweet, nasty, a spear to the heart.

John Paul Jones can tickle those keys, dammit!

The thing about Robert’s singing is that he doesn’t sing. He plays a musical instrument of voice. His range is beyond belief, and I don’t just mean that he can hit the high notes. A shriek, a grunt, a sigh, a whisper that wets the panties. There’s never been a singer who did what he did then – not even the Robert Plant of today.

Dazed and Confused is extraordinarily other-world eerie - even this one without the long solo. Or maybe it's not other-worldly after all - not for the first time I think this is what whales sing to each other in the depths. Aliens, nonetheless.

It’s like I’m hearing it all for the very first time. Zowie!

Majesty. Magery. Magick.

Has there ever been four musicians creating on that level, so in synch with each other? And they’d been together such a short time at that point!

Your Time is Gonna Come – I laughed out loud with the pleasure of the irony. Their time came and it's still coming, like a never-ending musical orgasm.  Pity those who ever doubted.

Had I ever heard really heard that subtle singing of the guitar before?

The sharpness of the tabla of Black Mountain Side – you can feel the hands slapping the drumhead.

The energy! You could power a whole city with the creative and psychic energy of one album!

What an incredible relief it must have been for Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones to know they’d never have to go back to playing sessions again.

So damn professional. So tight. But loose.

I’m a Jimmy Page fan before even being a Led Zeppelin fan, so having his guitar speak to me so clearly, so expressively, is like an answer to a deep prayer I hadn’t known I was praying.

This remastering leaves anything done before right in the dust. No comparison. No question. Sit up world, pay attention. This is what music is supposed to be about.

There is something about the guitar coming in to How Many More Times before the Bolero section that that just shatters me. And then after the Bolero section – my gawd. Talk about leviathans of the vast spaces between stars…

And then I have to laugh at Robert’s being exhausted after eleven children. How can you not love this stuff?

There never will be another Bonzo. I’m so thankful we had him for as long as we did.

Content of first 3 albums and companion discs

Friday, May 30, 2014

So Sue Me

"Humans are the killers of magic"
~Patrick Carman, The Land of Elyon: Into the Mist

Mage Music 84 
Mage Music 84 The Scales of Justice

Oh please - let's not go into the legal arguments associated with the lawsuit. You know -- the one that the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy California has brought against Led Zeppelin 40 some years after the “crime”. Let the people with expertise in things like copyright law, finances and such have their fun beating each other up over an issue they can’t resolve in any meaningful way. All that will happen is that the attorneys will make a lot of money and some ruffled feathers may be soothed (probably also with money) until the next time the issue comes up. And there will be a next time as long as it is business as usual – which is to say this lawsuit is about business and money and not the music at all.

Don't show me the money

This may come as a shock to some folks, but life is not money-based. It's not even work-based. Money is merely a marker, a symbol of value that humans agree on.  The marker is used to make the exchange of things of value easier, including the expenditure of energy in the form of labor. In and of itself, money has strictly limited value. You disagree? When you're hungry, try eating money.

When they say money can't buy happiness, that's a hint. What we're ultimately after is not about money or even about what money is able to buy - not cars or food or fame or fortune.  What it's all about is happiness. All the money and all the stuff in the world is useless unless it satisfies desire.  Satisfying the desire is what makes us happy. And that means that money and what it can buy sometimes has no value at all.

Money can't buy Magick, either - so don't bother showing me your money.  Show me your Magick.

What's law got to do with it?

If a person can't bring about changes in his own reality that make him happy, then that's a  person not doing Magick. (Satisfied desire -> manifestation of change in the world = happiness). So here's another hint: A person who is using the law to force change is not only unhappy but most likely not able to bring Magick into what he does.*

Why does that matter?

We humans, like most living beings, feel more comfortable with predictable patterns all around us. Human laws are the patterns that attempt to control life so that it feels safe. Limitations mean fewer surprises that could bring about pain and suffering. That allows everyone to keep on keeping on without having to look over shoulders constantly for the lions and tigers and bears of the unknown and unpatterned. Everything black and white, cut and dried and safe.  So safe.

Except that safe doesn't satisfy the human soul. That’s why we humans have art, and art isn't very good at following laws. Art pushes the boundaries of the rules that make us feel safe and spills out all over the place in unpredictable ways. The best art is edgy and smacks of risk and danger because these works of creativity connect us with the energy of All That Is.

You can try squashing art with laws, but life is growth and growth is a creative act. The human need for music and painting and drama and all the arts - tools for expression of the full span of emotions and the depth and mystery of the unknown - just can’t be confined by law.  Art is the messy, unruly, ungovernable leading edge of life itself.  Law is exclusive, art is inclusive.  Law is about apples or oranges, art is about apples and oranges, about anything and everything.  The best art is Magick and is an act of manifesting desire. The law can try to regulate a work of art with about as much success as it can regulate the natural desire to create in the first place, that is, not very well.

And the law shouldn't try. When it does, though, we know why. It's just business.

Not all that glitters is gold

Copying isn't an act of creation. Passing a work of art off as being one's own could and maybe should be subject to the scrutiny of the law because there is money involved. Business is business, after all.  

But don't let that confuse you.  It's quite simple to differentiate between "copied from" and "inspired by". If there's Magick to the music, then an act of creation was involved and the music has moved outside the scope of human law.  In the case of Spirit v Led Zeppelin, if you listen very hard the truth will come to you. From there you just follow the Magick.

And aren't the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven the ultimate in irony?
There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.
And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
And the forests will echo with laughter.

 *Reminder:  I use the masculine pronoun but that never excludes women from things Magickal or anything else.  It's just a quirk of the English language.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Postscript 06/10/14 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More thoughts on the lawsuit:

One of the big problems with mixing business and the arts (and music is obviously one of the arts) is that throughout human history making copies of a work has been not only accepted, but encouraged. It's only been in the last hundred years or so (as opposed to thousands of years of humans creating works of art) that this has been a problem.

Today's copyright laws have failed to even acknowledge that there are two completely different, and apparently opposing, approaches to art: the creative act that generates the work of art on the one hand, and the making money off of the work through copies (including musical recordings) on the other. The law can say what it wants but artists still work from the same inner space, which is influenced by and yes, even takes from other artists' work. It wasn't all that long ago that incorporating direct inspiration in a work of art was an act of tribute, not theft. It isn't even illegal to create exact copies of works of art, you know.  If it is sold it simply has to be sold as a copy, these days as a licensed copy (otherwise you couldn't buy Led Zeppelin music, posters or photos, could you?)

History has clearly shown that laws cannot suppress human nature very successfully. Regulations can't get rid of the human need to create art. This creative drive is part of human nature - a basic need like the need to socialize and communicate.  It is not an optional artifice of modern civilization. As long as copyright law ignores this point, there will be needless legal problems, particularly when there are opportunistic bloodsucker attorneys out there who want to take advantage of the situation.